Variety shows, drama series to pause for election coverage
From metaverse platforms to online culture shows, broadcasters encourage voters to tune into ballot count programs
Published : Mar 7, 2022 - 15:46
Updated : Mar 7, 2022 - 15:55
From top left, clockwise: KBS headquarters on Zepeto, “Let‘s Jeongchi 2” studio on Zepeto, ”Let’s Jeongchi 2“ studio and the KBS building. (KBS)
With the presidential election coming up Wednesday, major terrestrial broadcasters announced that all of their Wednesday night variety shows and drama series will be suspended for the day.

Throughout the campaign, the three major broadcasters KBS, MBC and SBS have partly cancelled some of their regularly scheduled programs to air one-on-one, one-on-four presidential debates. The broadcasters have also replaced regular programs to air special documentaries featuring the major presidential candidates of the ruling and main opposition parties in the weeks leading up to the election day.

Public broadcaster KBS is scheduled to livestream its election coverage in five episodes starting at 4:00 p.m. on KBS1TV.

KBS News 9, the flagship news show which airs at 9:00 p.m., will broadcast a special edition, featuring live updates on the election.

Integrating XR technologies, the public broadcaster seeks to present information and data about this year’s presidential election in a large-scale broadcast featuring 3D graphics and holograms.

Expanding their territory from its traditional television format, KBS is broadcasting the ballot count on a metaverse platform as well.

KBS has created a new map on Naver’s metaverse platform Zepeto, attracting viewers with various activities including a maze quiz about the presidential election, a studio for its talk show “Let’s Jeongchi 2” and a ballot selfie zone.

A separate metaverse platform called ifland from local telecom giant SK Telecom will livestream the world‘s first metaverse ballot count broadcast on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.

As soon as the ballot count ends, the broadcaster is scheduled to air the tentatively-titled “Who is the New 20th South Korean President?” at 3:00 a.m., Thursday.

KBS’ usual night programs, including nature documentary “Animal Kingdom,” entertainment show “Hometown Report,” “Workman” and daily soap opera “The All-Round Wife,” will not air on Wednesday.

Terrestrial broadcasters MBC and SBS are airing “Choice 2022” and “2022 People’s Choice” as their ballot count programs starting at 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., respectively.

MBC has collaborated with various Korean artists to deliver election-related information with a dose of culture, including Hangeul, the Korean writing system, traditional Korean craft, hanbok and more.

SBS, widely known for producing entertaining ballot count shows and drama parodies by editing the faces of the candidates with 2D characters, will be presenting animated characters for this year’s election.
A screenshot of SBS News’ YouTube video “2020 People’s Choice” shows two candidates’ results in the 2020 general election. (SBS)
Both MBC and SBS will not air their respective hit programs, “Radio Star” and “Kick a Goal.”

MBC’s drama “The Second Husband,” “Live Today Eveninig,” SBS’ “While You’re Hooked” and “Live Today” will not air this week.

While the three major broadcasters are holding a joint election exit poll as in previous elections, cable channel JTBC is conducting a separate exit poll for the first time this year.

With its own ballot count program “Vision Again” airing Wednesday evening, JTBC will be not air its weekly talk show “Talkpawon” and romance series “Thirty-Nine.“

By Lee Si-jin (sj_lee@heraldcorp.com)